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Can smoking bans help improve fetal outcomes?

no smoking circle.jpg

In 2004, Ireland became one of the first countries to enact a workplace smoking ban; five years later, a study showed that the ban was tied to a decrease in the number of moms-to-be who smoked and to a 25 reduced risk of preterm birth. Now, according to an American Public Health Association release, a small U.S. study has yielded similar results:

The study, which was presented today at the American Public Health Association's 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, compared maternal smoking prevalence in one Colorado city where a smoking ban has already been implemented to that of a neighboring city where there is no ordinance.

Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy collected data from mothers residing in Pueblo, Colo., before and after a citywide smoking ban took effect. Results show a 23 percent decrease in the odds of preterm births and a 37 percent decrease in the odds of maternal smoking in Pueblo following the ban. Birth outcomes in El Paso County, Colo., however, showed no such drop during the same time period.

The researchers said their findings, which follow previous studies on the health benefits of such bans, suggest that smoke-free laws have a "significant and immediate positive impact on the health of infants and mothers."

Previously: Study shows smoking bans decrease kids' exposure to secondhand smoke
Photo by Mustafa Nafees

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